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How common are medication mistakes among American patients?

Whether it is temporary due to an illness or an infection or long-term due to a serious disease or long-term condition, most residents in Pennsylvania have been prescribed a medication at one time or another. And while prescription medication can be very resourceful to treat and heal patients, if patients are not properly prescribed or informed of the medication they are prescribed, this could cause serious and even fatal adverse drug events.

Based on recent statistics by the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, roughly 82 percent of adults in the United States take at least one medication while 29 percent take five or more. It was found that every year, an estimated 700,000 emergency department visits and 120,000 hospitalizations are due to adverse drug events.

For some medications, blood testing is required; however, if a medical professional fails to conduct these or other tests on a timely basis, this could result in the wrong dose or wrong medication being prescribed. Over 40 percent of the emergency department visits that require patients to be hospitalized are due to medications that require regular monitoring with blood tests.

It is estimated that the number of adverse events occurring across the nation will grow in the coming years. This is largely due to six factors, which include the development of new medications, the discovery of new uses for older medication, the aging population, the increased use in medication for disease prevention and the increased coverage for prescription medications.

If you or a loved one have been harmed due to a medication mistake, it is possible to hold a medical professional liable for his or her negligence. A medical malpractice claim could help an injured patient recover compensation, helping them cover medical expenses, lost wages and other related damages.

Source: Cdc.gov, "Medication Safety Program," accessed Sept. 11, 2016

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